Women begin to enter the menopause transition years in their 40s. At this time, known as perimenopause, the sex hormones estrogen and progesterone fluctuate and eventually decline.
The peri-menopause process can take many years and women experience a wide variety of symptoms like irregular or heavy periods, mood disorders such as anxiety or depression, decreased libido, vaginal dryness, hot flashes, night sweats, and more. These symptoms often linger into menopause.
Women are often told that hormone replacement is the solution. While that can be true in many cases, exercise also has a positive effect on menopause-related symptoms.
A recent 16-week physical exercise study of menopausal women showed positive effects such as improved mood, better sleep, and a reduction in BMI.
The Best Exercise For Menopausal Women
The best exercise is always what makes you want to come back for more. There are types of exercise that can improve specific symptoms or help with health goals. But, in general, the more you exercise, the better the results.
Aerobic exercise includes many different types of exercises that elevate the heart rate. I would recommend 30-60 minutes 5-7 days a week (depending on your current fitness level). This type of exercise is encouraged for those who are obese or have cardiovascular issues.
Resistance training with free weights, machines, resistance bands, or bodyweight improves strength and bone density. Retaining strength is critically important as women age and strength naturally declines.
Bone density also becomes increasingly important as women age. Increasing exercise from 30 to 60 minutes, 5 days per week, has been shown to improve bone density.
Yoga and Tai Chi are both great forms of exercise to improve mood, mental cognition, flexibility, and balance. Juggling or dribbling are exercises to consider for improvements in coordination.
If you are new to exercise or struggling with your current regime, I welcome you to consult with a trainer at Causenta to assess your physical abilities and fitness to decide what exercises are best for you.